WikiLeaks is still online

The online attacks are part of a wave of support for WikiLeaks that is sweeping the Internet. Twitter was choked with messages of solidarity for the group, while the site’s Facebook page hit 1 million fans.

Internet “hacktivists” operating under the label “Operation Payback” claimed responsibility in a Twitter message for causing severe technological problems at the website for MasterCard, which pulled the plug on its relationship with WikiLeaks a day ago.

Hackers rushed to the defense of WikiLeaks on Wednesday, launching attacks on MasterCard, Visa, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank, Sarah Palin and others who have acted against the site and its jailed founder Julian Assange.

MasterCard acknowledged “a service disruption” involving its Secure Code system for verifying online payments, but spokesman James Issokson said consumers could still use their credit cards for secure transactions. Later Wednesday, Visa’s website was inaccessible.

Late Wednesday, Operation Payback itself appeared to run into problems, as many of its sites went down. It was unclear who was behind the counterattack.

MasterCard is the latest in a string of U.S.-based Internet companies — including Visa, Amazon.com, PayPal Inc. and EveryDNS — to cut ties to WikiLeaks in recent days amid intense U.S. government pressure. PayPal was not having problems Wednesday but the company said it faced “a dedicated denial-of-service attack” on Monday.

Meanwhile, a website tied to former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin came under cyberattack, she said. In a posting on the social networking site Facebook last week, Palin called Assange “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.” An aide said staff moved quickly to secure the website and no data was compromised.

WikiLeaks’ extensive releases of secret U.S. diplomatic cables have embarrassed U.S. allies, angered rivals, and reopened old wounds across the world. U.S. officials in Washington say other countries have curtailed their dealings with the U.S. government because of WikiLeaks’ actions.

PayPal Vice President Osama Bedier said the company froze WikiLeaks’ account after seeing a letter from the U.S. State Department to WikiLeaks saying that the group’s activities “were deemed illegal in the United States.”

Offline, WikiLeaks was under pressure on many fronts. Assange is in a British prison fighting extradition to Sweden over a sex crimes case. Recent moves by Swiss Postfinance, MasterCard, PayPal and others that cut the flow of donations to the group have impaired its ability to raise money.

Neither WikiLeaks nor Assange has been charged with any offense in the U.S., but the U.S. government is investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted for espionage or other offenses. Assange has not been charged with any offenses in Sweden either, but authorities there want to question him about the allegations of sex crimes.

Undeterred, WikiLeaks released more confidential U.S. cables Wednesday. The latest batch showed the British government feared a furious Libyan reaction if the convicted Lockerbie bomber wasn’t set free and expressed relief when they learned he would be released in 2009 on compassionate grounds.

Another U.S. memo described German leader Angela Merkel as the “Teflon” chancellor, but she brushed it off as mere chatter at a party. American officials were also shown to be lobbying the Russian government to amend a financial bill they felt would disadvantage U.S. companies Visa and MasterCard.

The most surprising cable of the day came from a U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia after a night on the town.

“The underground nightlife of Jiddah’s elite youth is thriving and throbbing,” the memo said. “The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but all behind closed doors.”

The pro-WikiLeaks vengeance campaign on Wednesday appeared to be taking the form of denial-of-service attacks in which computers are harnessed — sometimes surreptitiously — to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.

Per Hellqvist, a security specialist with the firm Symantec, said a network of web activists called Anonymous — to which Operation Payback is affiliated — appeared to be behind many of the attacks. The group, which has previously focused on the Church of Scientology and the music industry, is knocking offline websites seen as hostile to WikiLeaks.

“While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons,” the group said in a statement. “We want transparency and we counter censorship … we intend to utilize our resources to raise awareness, attack those against and support those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy.”

The website for Swedish lawyer Claes Borgstrom, who represents the two women at the center of Assange’s sex crimes case, was unreachable Wednesday.

The Swiss postal system’s financial arm, Postfinance, which shut down Assange’s bank account on Monday, was also having trouble. Spokesman Alex Josty said the website buckled under a barrage of traffic Tuesday.

“Yesterday it was very, very difficult, then things improved overnight,” he told the AP. “But it’s still not entirely back to normal.”

Ironically, the microblogging site Twitter — home of much WikiLeaks support — could become the next target. Operation Payback posted a statement claiming “Twitter you’re next for censoring Wikileaks discussion.”

Some WikiLeaks supporters accuse Twitter of preventing the term “WikiLeaks” from appearing as one of its popular “trending topics.” Twitter denies censorship, saying the topics are determined by an algorithm.

Twitter’s top trending topics are not the ones people are discussing the most overall, but those they are talking about more right now than they did previously, Twitter explained in an e-mail Wednesday. If tweets were ranked by volume alone, the weather or other mundane topics would dominate the trends.

WikiLeaks angered the U.S. government earlier this year when it posted a video showing U.S. troops on a helicopter gunning down two Reuters journalists in Iraq. Since then, the organization has leaked some 400,000 classified U.S. war files from Iraq and 76,000 from Afghanistan, which U.S. military officials say could put people’s lives at risk. In the last few weeks, the group has begun leaking a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

U.S. officials have directed their anger at Assange, but others have begun to ask whether Washington shares the blame for the diplomatic uproar.

“The core of all this lies with the failure of the government of the United States to properly protect its own diplomatic communications,” Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Wednesday, criticizing the fact that tens of thousands of U.S. government employees had access to the cables.

Assange, meanwhile, faces a new extradition hearing in London next week where his lawyers plan to reapply for bail. The 39-year-old Australian denies two women’s allegations in Sweden of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, and is fighting his extradition to Sweden.

In a Twitter message Wednesday, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson shrugged off the challenges.

“We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship … WikiLeaks is still online,” Hrafnsson said.

Share this post

PinIt

2 Replies to “WikiLeaks is still online”

  1. hacker says:

    WikiLeaks Statement: “We will not be gagged”

    Following the detention of Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assangem, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said:

    “Today, Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange was refused bail by a UK court. While we are troubled by this bizarre decision, we know Julian is grateful for the support of both his legal team and prominent figures such as Ken Loach, Jemima Khan and John Pilger.

    “However, this will not stifle Wikileaks. The release of the US Embassy Cables — the biggest leak in history — will still continue. This evening, the latest batch of cables were released, and our media partners released their next batch of stories.

    “We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship. Today Visa joined Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, EveryDNS and others in cutting off their links.

    “Wikileaks is still online. The full site is duplicated in more than 500 locations. Every day, the cables are loaded more than 50 million times.

    “US Senator Joe Lieberman today attacked the New York Times for its decision to publish the cables, just days after calling for companies to boycott Wikileaks.

    “Just minutes later, the State Department announced the US will host next year’s UNESCO Press Freedom day. The irony is not lost on us. We hope in future, UNESCO celebrates press freedom somewhere where it exists.”

    Visit the Cablegate site at http://www.wikileaks.ch/cablegate

    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/7canol

    If Julian Assange can be silenced, so can every one of us. Stand up, speak up: for him, for yourself, for all of us. Before it’s too late.

    http://wikileaks.ch/support.html

    WikiLeaks support protest in Sydney this Friday http://wlcentral.org/node/540

    http://wikileaks.ch

    http://wikileaks.ch/cablegate.html

    http://www.cableleaks.com/

    http://statelogs.owni.fr/

    http://twitter.com/cableleaks

    http://twitter.com/wikileaks

    http://wlcentral.org/

  2. Antonio Carlos Lacerda says:

    The United States had secrets revealed that tarnish its image before the world, which should speak to it to kneel and make their ‘mea culpa’

    The most sacred social mission is the act of keeping people informed about what is happening around them in the public and secret acts of the system in power, what, on their behalf, is being done by those who govern.

    Even more than having the right to inform, the journalist has a civic, social and inalienable duty to tell people what their government does, openly or secretly, on their behalf.

    An act performed in the function of the representative of a people and kept secret, at worst, I suspect, may be criminal if it is insisted that it be kept secret.

    The brave and bold Australian journalist, Julian Assange, and his virtual site WikiLeaks, shattered the false moralistic structure of world diplomacy, notably that of the moralizing, preaching United States of America, washed the souls of all peoples around the world, left the self-proclaimed owners of the truth with their pants down, and showed that embassies and diplomatic missions are actually dens of international espionage.

    Instead of trying to apologize before world public opinion for the practice of diplomatic espionage, kneeling down and doing their ‘mea culpa,’ the United States, as if wanting to own the absolute truth, tries, at all costs, spending its energies with accusations, prosecutors and with getting the governments of countries around the world to cooperate in their campaign of vengence.

    The Department of Justice of the United States is exploring the ‘legal’ roads to prosecute Julian Assange, said Vice President Joe Biden, who considers the founder of WikiLeaks a “high-tech terrorist.”

    “We are studying it. The Justice Department is working on the question. If he conspired with a soldier of the United States military to get these secret documents, this is fundamentally different than if someone leaves documents for you, let’s say you’re a journalist, here is confidential material,'” Biden said to a NBC TV.

    The Espionage Act of 1917 does not contemplate this type of case, since you need to demonstrate that the site WikiLeaks, which released thousands of secret diplomatic telegrams from the United States, is not a traditional means of communication.

    U.S. prosecutors hope to gather evidence that the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, encouraged or helped the soldier, Bradley Manning, who was suspected of having passed documents to the site.

    To accuse Julian Assange of conspiring to undermine national security would allow the U.S. government to get the Australian in prison without affecting freedom of expression of the media guaranteed by the Constitution.

    “This man did things that harmed us, put in danger the life and career of certain people in the world. It complicated relations with our allies and friends,” explained the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden.

    Will an arrogant nation, claiming to be the absolute master of truth as the United States does, could they be capable of a gesture of humility and admit that they use worldwide diplomacy to spy on countries, institutions, governments and people around the world? Of course not!

    Antonio Carlos Lacerda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 + 16 =

scroll to top